Adorable child like Hummel figurines were hugely collectable in the early 20th century and still today their desirability continues with rare designs setting record highs.
Whilst most Hummel Figurines are extremely well priced and form the starting point of most collections it is the rare early ones such as “Adventure Bound” that reach record prices.
The History Of Hummel Figurines
Bavarian nun Berta Hummel who changed her name to Maria Innocentia upon entering a Franciscan convent in Germany. Having just finished at the Academy Of Applied Arts In Munich Sister Maria Innocentia drew pictures of what was to become her signature art works of children with rosy cheeks and playfulness in their eyes – religion also played a huge role in many of her drawings.
In 1934 a Stutgart publishing firm rebased a small column of verse illustrated with Hummel’s sketches of children depicting innocent memories of childhood.
This book found Hummel in a life changing position that would transform her drawings into pottery. The book had caught the eye of Franz Goebel who saw the opportunity to create porcelain figurines of Sister Hummels drawings.
Franz Goebel the director of the Goebel pottery factory soon entered into an agreement with Maria Innocentia and in 1935 the first figurines were marketed to the German public at a trade fair in Leipzig – the rest is history the public took an instant liking and a love affair with these child like rosy cheeked figurines had begun. Hummel placed the highest of standards on the Goebel factory inciting they came to Siessen to consult on all production details.
During the Nazi take over of Europe production was eventually stopped entirely however Goebel started production once again and soon these delightful figurines became one of the most popular gifts for the solders to send home to their loved ones. Hummel figurines were made by the Goebel factory from the 1930’s until 2008.
The souvenirs sent home by the troops were to spark a huge interest in Hummel Figurines in America .Berta Hummel died in 1946 shortly after the end of World War II at the age of 37 – tuberculosis claimed her life but her legacy will live on forever in the art works she created and the rosy cheeked pottery children that were inspired by her drawings.As she lay in Siessen where she had returned to die within her comunity she drew her last fifteen drawings which were in every essence full of the child like innocence she had become known for she called these sketches “ last gift “ . Today collections adorn antique furniture and can be purchased on online auction and antique websites globally.
In 1993 a museum was opened to pay homage to her life works. Sieglinde Schoen Smith who had posed at the age of 18 months in 1942 for Hummel and is today known as ’the living Hummel “ felt that Hummels legacy deserved to be housed in a museum. She contacted Jacques Nauer the owner of the original Hummel sketches and a dream was born. The doors opened not in Germany but in Texas in New Braun-fels a town originally settled with German immigrants. Many items can be seen here amongst which are the original drawings and items from Hummels Siessen studio.
The making of a Hummel Figurine
Hummel Figurines are made from liquid ceramic poured into a mould however the process starts with a clay figurine made by an experienced artist once approved the mold is made to produce the figurines. Each piece is then assembled to create the piece using liquid ceramic to bond the pieces together once totally dry they are subjected to two firing in a kiln and then they are hand painted . Berta Hummel made sure the palette she originally created the art work in was used to finish the figurines. Once the figurine was approved then each figurine could be hand painted – a lengthy process that makes each Hummel Figurine unique to own .
Value of Hummel
How much is your Hummel Figurine worth ? As an antique shop owner I have seen prices fluctuate over the past years however it is plain to see that the earlier more complex designs have not succumbed to a down fall in price . It is also my opinion that since production stopped in 2008 the original pieces will gain in value and the rarer items will continue to have a high demand and therefore see an increase in value. Look for the special edition figurines that were produced in less numbers as they have the higher value.
There are three main pointers to look for when identifying Hummel 1) “M.I. Hummel inscribed or impressed into the pottery as seen in the image below 2) Mold numbers were impressed into the base ranging from 100-2000 3) The Goebel marking either with their name or in the form of a bee or crown .
Displaying Your Hummel Collection
A collection can be well protected in an antique furniture display cabinet ( link to funiture on Clyde on 4th ) other furniture antique pieces such as a server or centre table are ideal pieces to display select pieces from your collection. Think of displaying a few Hummel Figurines next to your favourite Royal Albert Tea set in your lounge together they create a great display.
Starting a collection of Hummel
I would recommend looking at our website to see what items we have in stock as well as visiting antique fairs and looking at online auctions. Be sure to ask questions about condition and if there is any repairs at all to the items you are interested in purchasing . Many factories made figurines such as Royal Doulton and Spode so you may want to collect other ranges of figurines and these are two factories that you could look into starting to collect as well.
What Hummel To collect
Collecting the figurines is the most popular I would recommend trying to get these items below into your collection amongst all the others you love .
“ Adventure Bound “ designed by Theo Menzenbach is one of the figurines to watch out for although produced over the course of a few decades it remains a highly sought after figurine. The figure consists of multiple figures and was therefore hard to produce. The full bee mark – TMK-2 – were manufactured before 1959 and the other parking post this date. The price varies hugely for the period of manufacturing .
“ Apple Tree Boy “ and “ Apple tree Girl “ with mould numbers 141 and 142 are highly desirable amongst collectors. The earliest ones in this edition are known to get excellent prices it is important to note that both these figures were made in three sizes with the largest ones getting the highest value.
Collecting The Hummels Pates
Produced much latter the first plate “ Heavenly Angel “came out in 1971 . These plates make wonderful back drops for your collection in your antique furniture display cabinet . Prices vary for the plates but for the most part you can purchase one for around R450 rands.
“ Hummel worked at a time when there wasn’t much love in the world . For a long time I could not figure out what makes her art so popular. Then I realised that what she drew is everybody’s memories “ Sieglinde Schoen Smith